“Great that we have hit 100k tests for a second day running”

Matt Hancock, Twitter

April 2, 2020

Facts

When asked by journalists, Professor John Newton, Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England, confirmed that tests that are sent to people at home or to satellite centres are counted at the point they are sent, rather than when the tests are completed. 

Professor Newton said: “For any tests which go outside of the control of the programme, they are counted as soon as they leave the programme. That’s for the tests that go out to people home and in satellite centres.”

According to Full Fact, “of the 122,347 tests that the government has said were completed on April 30, 27,497 are home tests and 12,872 were sent out to satellite sites. This suggests that just 81,978 of the tests were actually processed.”

Using this measure, on the day Hancock refers to, only 60,000 tests were carried out. Less than the previous day. 

The lack of clarity on tests saw the chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir David Norgrove, write to Matt Hancock asking him to clarify whether his new target of 200,000 referred to testing capacity; tests that have been administered; test results received; or the number of people tested. 

Matt Hancock’s response confirmed that the target referred to testing capacity, and not tests performed.

He also said: “We are reconciling our approach to reporting across the different testing pillars to ensure consistency, and I have asked the Chief Statistician at the Department of Health and Social Care to continue working with you to ensure we provide the best information about COVID-19 testing.”

Verdict

Matt Hancock, once again, made the questionable assertion that the government tested over 100,000 people. 

When we asked Matt Hancock to respond to the claims laid out in this website, a spokesperson said: “This list is false, wildly inaccurate, and in some cases possibly even defamatory. For example claiming that some of Matt's claims in the Commons were in defiance of the ministerial code, when they were in fact accurate. The priority throughout this unprecedented pandemic has been saving lives.” 

PreviousNext